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The Fit Expo 2004
Saturday, February 21 - The Quest for Food & Yoga

Labrada CarbWaters gourmet chocolates

10:30 a.m. It looks like it might rain, so I head for the underground parking lot of the Center, but the line of cars and SUVs winds down the street and seems to be at a standstill. So I change my mind and park three blocks down, on the first street without a time limit on parking and just walk. I prefer walking anyhow, and if it's raining later, so what? I notice that I am not the only person who is parking "off campus" - we fitness people welcome the extra bit of exercise. I'm pleasantly surprised - even though I fatigued quite a few of my muscles during Rob Glick's class, I'm not sore today. Well, maybe a little bit in my legs - I blame it on that 32-count body bar squat.

(Article continued below.)

I take a quick walk around the Exhibition Hall before my first lecture. Already the plethora of protein bars, protein shakes and energy drinks is starting to look less than appetizing. Those CarbWatchers chocolates still look inviting, though, and I can't resist grabbing a couple more samples.

11:30 a.m. The moment I enter the room where Dr. Del Millers will be giving his nutrition seminar, I notice he's got a table with a pan, a portable burner and loads of ingredients. Does this mean we will be having REAL FOOD? Dr. Millers assures us we will. The name of his seminar is Simply DELicious: 130 Recipes You Can Make in 10 Minutes. I'm attending this class primarily to see how he's going to fit 130 recipes into 45 minutes. What Dr. Millers gives us is actually better than that - a class in which we learn how to make really tasty meals in the time it takes to drive through McDonald's (actually some of his suggestions take even less time than that). With the creative use of marinade and the addition of some handy spices and vegetables, he whips up a great chicken dish. Yum! Next up he takes a can of Albacore tuna, mixes it up with tomatoes, avocado, mustard, rice wine vinegar and some green onions and in the time it takes to blink, he's got a mouth-watering tuna salad. Not only are these recipes fast -they're way healthier and taste far better than fast food. Dr. Millers is a walking example for his recipes - he's muscular, very, very lean and he has great energy. I leave his demonstration inspired and hungry for more real food.

del millers cooks for us

dr barry sears of the zone diet 12:30 p.m. Unfortunately, there's no time for me to hunt down a real lunch - the next seminar is beginning in 10 minutes. It's a presentation from Dr. Barry Sears, who is known for the Zone diet. According to Dr. Sears, the Zone was not designed as a weight loss diet per se, but as an anti-inflammatory diet. Silent inflammation, he says, is what causes obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, and many other ailments. What's important is permanent fat loss, since the more fat you have, the more inflammation you also have. While I'm not totally sold on all this, I do like the Zone's balanced approach to eating, which includes lots of fruit and vegetables, protein, some carbs, and moderate amounts of monounsaturated fat, and the fact that it stays away from saturated fat as much as possible. Dr. Sears also takes the opportunity to discuss his latest product, pharmaceutical grade fish oil that he says is far more potent than regular grade fish oil. While I can't vouch for the product, I do know that omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial.

1:30 p.m. I'm planning on attending two Yoga classes today, and the first is with endurance athlete and Yoga teacher Ted McDonald. McDonald teaches at a variety of studios around Los Angeles' West Side (including Steve Ross' studio, Maha Yoga). After explaining the importance of Yoga when it comes to correcting imbalances caused by athletics, McDonald guides us through a very satisfying Yoga routine. The only problem I have is that I work up a sweat in the heated room and my hands keep sliding off the fresh, new Yoga mat. I wind up taking my Downward Facing Dogs to the carpet and return to the mat when we go onto the sitting postures. We do Shoulderstands at the end, and McDonald adjusts mine by bracing his feet by my arms and pulling my legs up just a bit. It does the trick - my posture straightens up nicely - and it makes me wish I had someone to adjust my Shoulderstand when I'm practicing at home.

workout clothes
Hot Skins workout clothes

3:00 p.m. I finally have some time before my next workshop, so I return to the Exhibition Hall for a leisurely browse. I continue to nibble on various protein bars and cookies (the people at Apex have some pretty good ones, and when I voice my approval, they give me a handful to take home). The MetRx bars have become staples in my Expo diet, as have the CarbWatchers chocolates. But I'm getting pretty blasé about it all until I have a pretzel dipped in chocolate Soy Nut Butter. This is definitely the next best thing to those low-carb chocolates! I'm tempted to go back for more, but the sight of all the new styles of fitness clothing stops me. In the past several years, fit fashion has been going through a makeover, much of it inspired by Yoga. Not so long ago, most fitness gear was boring, generic and overly spandexed. The outfits now are prettier, more stylish and are made from an ever-increasing number of high-tech fibers. If I want to keep having a body worthy of wearing these clothes, I figure I'd better quit grazing and head for some workshops. I catch the end of Jerry Robinson's lecture and demonstration on the proper form for ab work, and then head up to the Gold room for yet another Yoga session.

jerry robinson and his amazing abs
MetRx Bars

Anthony Benenati adjusts us 3:00 p.m. I've tried many of the major Yoga styles, including Iyengar, Kundalini and Power Yoga. I haven't yet tried Ashtanga (mainly because you don't just check out Ashtanga - you really have to make a regular practice), Bikram or Anusara Yoga. In a nutshell, Anusara, developed by John Friend, focuses on alignment, like Iyengar does, but it also focuses on opening the heart. It's graceful and based on a "non-dual Tantric philosophy" - at least that's what the Anusara site says. I decide to find out what Anusara is all about by attending a workshop held by Anthony Benenati, who is the co-owner of City Yoga in West Hollywood. Benenati is a master teacher - his instruction is excellent and his presence is warm. In fact, the whole tone of the session is warm - while the approach to the poses is as exacting as Iyengar, there's something more earthy and approachable to Anusara. At one point, Benenati has us pick a partner to adjust in Downward Facing Dog. I wind up with Carlos, a nice guy to my right who, like many men, has tight hamstrings. Benenati shows us what to do, and even though I make sure I'm not causing Carlos undue distress, when we're done he laughingly describes the exercise as the "mother of all evil!" In spite of this, he loves the class and he loves Benenati, as do I. I leave the class in a blissful haze, and it's raining lightly as I head for my car. Somehow it all feels just right.

Next page >> 2/22/04 - an Exercise in Endurance >> Page 1, 2, 3, 4

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